RAPID cultural project a “great success”

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A five-week cultural programme for young people in rural areas in Derry has been described as a “great success.”

In May of this year The Rural Area Partnership (RAPID) in Derry ws awarded the tender for the PEACE IV “Intercultural Community Pairing – Cohesive Neighbourhoods Minority Inclusion” project.

The project aimed to facilitate the coming together of groups and participants from diverse backgrounds across the Derry City and Strabane District Council area, to learn about and enjoy other cultures and identities, with the view of tackling sectarianism and racism.

The five week cultural programme started September 24, in in partnership with Newbuildings Community Association. It saw nearly 60 young people between the ages of eight and 12 enjoy a range of cultural activities including Tai Chi, Gaelic Football, Chinese Art and cultural based cooking.

A spokesperson for RAPID said: “The participants came from Claudy, Newbuildings, Strathfoyle as well as the Mandarin Speaking School, North West Islamic Centre, the local Polish Schoolin Strathfoyle as well as six young Syrian refugees.

“This initial five week programme was a great success as it allowed the young people participating the opportunity to enjoy something new, in an environment which was new to them and with people who they would not otherwise have had the chance to meet.”

Kayla Glackin was one of the young people involved in the project. She is a student at St Colmcille’s Primary School in Claudy and said she “loved the activities” and “especially loved the fact that I have met my new best friend, Chelsea. We met here and got on so well.” Yang Zhou facilitated the Tai Chi in the programme, and said those involved “really enjoyed teaching so many local children Tai chi, and they seemed to love learning it.”

“To build on the friendships made during this five week block, more cultural based activities will be organised in the new year,” the spokesperson added.